The Buffalo Bills were part of a huge draft-day trade yesterday, as they sent star wide receiver Stevie Johnson to the San Francisco 49ers for a mere conditional fourth-round pick next year after aggressively trading up for the fourth pick on Thursday in order to draft Sammy Watkins, who is the top receiver in the class. The Bills fell in love with Watkins and believed he was well-worth moving up for, even if the Bills did give up a big haul of picks in order to acquire him. With Watkins replacing Johnson as the No. 1 guy, the Bills wide receiver corps is younger and different, and they are hoping that Watkins will prove to be a significant upgrade over Johnson, who caught at least 75 passes for over 1,000 yards in three straight seasons from 2010 to 2012.
Today, the Bills are involved in another big draft-day deal, as they acquired backup running back Bryce Brown from the Philadelphia Eagles and sent a conditional fourth-round pick. CBS Sports’s Jason La Canfora reported the details of this deal, and it’s one that has certainly caught us by surprise.
The Bills actually looked into some running back prospects in this year’s draft, and I always believed that drafting a late-round RB would serve the Bills well. Even though C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson combine to form an excellent running back duo, both players will be free agents soon and fresh blood to add depth at the position and a potential heir apparent for one of them (most likely Jackson) would be needed. But instead of drafting a RB, the Bills went out and traded for one. Brown is a talented back, but is he worth the same as Johnson in a deal? I don’t think so, and I think the Bills would have been better drafting an RB later on this year. That said, Brown will most likely be better than any RB the Bills would have drafted.
As for the Philadelphia Eagles, they always wanted to trade Brown, and I’m sure the Eagles, who are deep at RB, are happy with the pick they received as compensation.